Super Bowl fever has gripped the nation once again, and Georgia businessman Ketan Shah is accused of taking advantage of the excitement by swindling people out of more than $750,000. Per Deadspin, the Gwinett County resident must appear before local authorities by Sunday if he wants to make his side of the story known. A warrant will presumably be issued for his arrest if he fails to meet this deadline.
What makes this particular ticket scam unusual, according to WSB-TV 2, is that Ketan Shah allegedly went after people he knew. Gwinett County Cpl. Wilbert Rundles discussed the oddity of this fact.
“It’s not that he posted some ad and random people are contacting this guy for tickets and being scammed. He’s known these people for years. One of them, he’s known his whole life because it’s his own mother.”
Ketan Shah’s mother allegedly paid $36,000 for premium level tickets. Unlike most of the people Shah appears to have scammed, his mother has opted not to file charges against him. The amount paid by each person Shah allegedly targeted varies from $20,000 to $500,000. A few victims reported making regular payments until their total bill was paid off.
The publicly unidentified Georgia businessman who lost the most money was promised much more than just Super Bowl tickets for his $500,000. News reports indicate that Shah allegedly told this individual that his payment would also allow him to host a Super Bowl event at the arena.
Another odd thing about this particular scam that really stands out is Ketan Shah’s solid reputation as a long-term, “squeaky clean” businessman. This, coupled with the man’s disappearance, has most likely contributed to Gwinett County police extending an offer for Shah to tell his side of the story — before further action is taken.
Norcross businessman Ketan Shah is on the run, accused of scamming people out of about $1M in fake Super Bowl tickets. One of the victims is his own mother. His daughter just told me, "We're victims too." Details on this bizarre case @ 11. pic.twitter.com/6Q4YYSU314— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) February 1, 2019
Even Ketan Shah’s wife, Bhavi Shah, says she hasn’t seen him — and has no idea where he is. However, Bhavi did inform local police officials that her husband appears to have taken out a business loan worth $500,000. She further stated that she’d had no advance knowledge of this loan.
The National Consumers League has been warning football fans to be wary of Super Bowl ticket scams for several years. Despite this, numerous people who are overly eager for a ticket are duped annually. This is such a common issue, in fact, that long-running TV show The Simpsons satirized it in “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday,” an episode which features Homer Simpson unwittingly pulling several friends into a Super Bowl ticket scam.
If you’re headed to the Super Bowl, WSB Radio reported this morning that there are still some local area rooms available to rent. Most of these rooms average $500 per night, but there is at least one three-bedroom offering that is priced above $7,000. Of course, you can avoid these expenses by doing what local Georgia residents do — stay outside of Atlanta, and either drive into the city, or take the MARTA transit system. One cost-saving option is to stay in the Northeast Georgia mountains for the entire weekend. Cabin rentals in Unicoi State Park start at $109 per night.
No matter how you choose to enjoy the Super Bowl this weekend, make sure to protect yourself against exorbitantly-priced ticket scams.